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shortest flight path from Johannesburg to Abu Dhabi

Cheap Flights from Johannesburg to Abu Dhabi

Only Etihad flies direct from Johannesburg to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. To get on the cheapest flight from Johannesburg to Abu Dhabi, use the flight price comparison tool on the left to compare all flight prices and check whether 1-stop airlines are cheaper than Etihad (yes, even though it's counter intuitive in terms of jet fuel used, it's often cheaper to fly 1-stop!). Be flexible with your schedule to get the cheapest price. Flights leaving on Fridays are usually more expensive (everybody wants to get away at the start of the weekend).

Flight to Abu Dhabi are to Abu Dhabi International Airport (see info on getting to and from it, what is allowed and not, and check-in/out procedures within it).

Direct flights

Etihad Airways

Johannesburg to Abu Dhabi (AUH)

non-stop (8 hours)

1-stop flights

  • July 2013 : Kenya Airways commences flights from Nairobi to Abu Dhabi, creating 1-stop options from Johannesburg to Abu Dhabi.


Johannesburg to Abu Dhabi (AUH)

1-stop (15 hours)
Cairo (CAI)

Kenya Airways

Johannesburg to Abu Dhabi (AUH)

1-stop (13 hours)
Nairobi (NBO)

Qatar Airlines

Johannesburg to Abu Dhabi (AUH)

1-stop (11 TO 12 hours)
Doha (DOH)

Turkish Airlines

Johannesburg to Abu Dhabi (AUH)

1-stop (29 hours)
Istanbul (IST)

South African Airways

Johannesburg to Abu Dhabi (AUH)

1-stop Various

The flight is some 6275km, as the crow flies, traversing western Africa. 

Flight radar

Thanks to for this live map of aircraft coming in to land at Abu Dhabi Airport.

Road trip

Given the route you'd have to take, the time it would take, the risks, and the visa requirements, we wouldn't even begin to suggest that you consider driving from Johannesburg to Abu Dhabi! For those crazy enough to even be thinking of it, here's the map explaining why not to.

View Larger Map

Hotels in Abu Dhabi

The best hotel deals in Abu Dhabi are often obtained together with flights booked with Etihad. The hotel booking tool below allows you to compare prices of accommodation options in Abu Dhabi. The 3 best rated spots are the Rocco Forte Hotel (views, service & value - if they are holding at disco at the Blue Bar try stay on the other side of the hotel!), the Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort (in a natural environment - sun rises & sets are a must see) and the Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri (views - watch the jetskis on the river, international staff, only warning is that you're under the flight path).

Abu Dhabi International Airport

Abu Dhabi International Airport is the second largest airport in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), servicing over 10 million passengers a year. It is the home of Etihad Airways, the second largest carrier in the UAE, after Dubai-based Emirates. In 2012 Abu Dhabi International Airport was voted the Best Airport in the Middle East at the World Airport Awards.

Arriving at Abu Dhabi International Airport

The first thing you need to do is go through Passport Control.   Passport Control is really easy for UAE citizens who need only swipe a card to go through an e-Gate – no queuing!   Passengers with reduced mobility are also assisted through a special check-in gate with direct access from the carpark. 

After you have collected your baggage, you will go through Customs.  Make sure you know the amounts you are allowed to bring in, in terms of alcohol, perfume, gifts and cigarettes.  Drugs – even prescription – are an absolute no-no.  Make sure you have your Dr’s prescription with you for even the smallest pill!  Firearms and weapons are restricted, and no pornographic material or religious propaganda is allowed into the country. There are strict laws regarding pirated software.  Money in your possession will be recorded for statistical purposes – you can carry as much cash as you want to.

If you are being picked up, you can be met at the lower curbside of Terminals 1 or 3, or in front of Terminal 2.   Parking rates are reasonable – your “chauffeur” can park at Skypark or one of the parking lots from as little as AED 2 for 15 minutes. There is a quick shuttle from the parking areas to the terminals. Valet parking is also available, and discounted parking may be obtained for frequent flyers.

If you are in transit and your luggage is booked through – go to the transit desk as soon as you land, in order to find out from which terminal your next flight leaves.   If you have to move from one terminal to another allow 20 minutes to walk between terminals, or use the inter-terminal shuttle, which leaves every 15 minutes from the shuttle stops outside Terminals 1 and 2.

You might want to make use of the Meet and Assist services which will meet you as you step off the ‘plane, and then accompany you, carry your luggage and fast track you through immigration, customs etc, or take you to make your connection.

Departing from Abu Dhabi International Airport

You can check your flight departure times on the Airport website, and arrange to get an sms to give you the latest data on your flight.   If you arrive early, you can make use of all the facilities, shops and restauarants available.   If you are travelling on Etihad Airways, your flight will leave from Terminal 3 – all other carriers use Terminals 1 and 2.

Check-In:  You need to be at the check in counter:

    • 4 hours before Etihad flight departures

    • 3 hours before all other flights

    • The check-in usually closes one hour before departure

Online Check-In:
Many airlines offer online check-ins and seat selection.  This will save you time at the airport, as you will have printed out your boarding pass and you will just need to drop your baggage at the Bag Drop counter.   The Airport also offers a remote check-in facility and a baggage wrap service.

After check-in, enjoy shopping, eating, relaxing before your flight is called.

  •  Airport facilities, shops, restaurants

Abu Dhabi International Airport has all the usual facilities offered by top-class airports, including banking, forex, communications (wifi, internet, phones etc), washing and toilet facilities, a post office, prayer room, enclosed smoking lounges, porters, medical help and facilities for babies and children.

There are several shops and restaurants before you go through passport control.  You can buy a mobile phone and find full communications facilities at Du, buy newspapers, books, sweets and souvenirs at Jashanmal or Relay or book your hotels through one of the many booking offices.  You can have coffee or a meal at one of the many restaurants, which serve both local and international cuisine.

After passport control, there is a vast number of restaurants and duty free and designer shops to choose from.  International clothing, cosmetics, perfumes, jewellery and many more stores await you.   There is a facility called “Fly Lighter” which enables you to shop and leave your purchases for picking up on your return through the airport.  For more info, contact  If you want to eat and drink after passport control, you can get fast food on the run, or settle down to a more leisurely meal.  There is almost every type of cuisine – Middle Eastern, Chinese, American, Italian, to name but a few. 

If you need to relax before your next flight or before you head off to your business meeting, try one of the many lounges, a spa or the gaming room. There are also fun areas for children.

Abu Dhabi Launch New Traveller Documentation Authentication System

The new system will launch in June 2015 and is designed to automatically verify all forms of boarding passes. This will not only improve security but also make the check-in process faster.

“This is all part of our ongoing programme to deliver a smooth flowing airport,” Abu Dhabi Airports chief operating officer, Ahmed Al Haddabi said in a statement. “With the new technology, verifying passenger documentation will be done quickly and efficiently, while at the same time improving the passenger experience.” 

Getting to and from the airport

NB: The airport has three passenger terminals.  Terminal 3 is currently undergoing major expansion – including a new travellers’ tunnel between the departure terminal and the arrivals hall -  with the result that the Abu Dhabi Airports Company has issued a warning that there will be alternative entry and exit roads to and from the airport for the period 7 April to 6 June 2013. All drop-offs and traveller collection points will be at the lower levels for the time being.  Passengers are advised to park in the parking areas and then go to the lower level gates for Terminals 1 and 3.  

    •  By Car
  • Routes from Airport to Central Abu Dhabi

There are three routes from the airport which will take you directly to various dropoff points in central Abu Dhabi:

  • Follow the signs from the airport onto the E20 freeway westbound.  Travel west until the E20 becomes Khaleej Al Arabi Street (30th Street).

  • Take the airport exit towards the E10 freeway. Turn west onto the E10 (Dubai-Abu Dhabi Road) and follow the signs to Abu Dhabi, ending up in Salam Street (8th Street)

  • Follow the signs from the airport to the E20 freeway.  Drive west down the E20 until you reach the E22 and turn right (north).   This will take you to Sheikh Rashied Al Maktoum Street (2nd Street):

  • The airport is 38km away, so each trip should only take about half an hour.

  • Route to Dubai

Take the airport exit towards the E20 freeway and proceed left (east) on the E20 until you exit onto the E11 freeway northbound.   Travel about 80km northeast along the E11 to get to Dubai.

  • Route to Al Ain

Take the exit near Terminal 2 towards the E20 freeway.  Turn east along the E20 freeway until you reach the E11 freeway, down which you proceed in a southwesterly direction to the E22 freeway.  Get onto the E22 southbound and Al Ain is about 130km away.

    • Public Transport
  • By bus:

From the city: Catch the 901 Bus to the airport from any official bus stop, or from the bus terminal at Old Fish Market on Al Nasr Street.  The bus is green and white, and the bus stops have clear blue and white insignia.
From the airport: You can leave from outside Terminal 2, or from the lower curbsides outside Terminals 1 and 3.  The bus also departs from the Cargo Building and the Police complex.
The bus runs every 40 minutes, 24 hours a day, costs around AED3, and the journey takes about 45 minutes one way.

  • Inter-terminal shuttle

There is a free shuttle service between terminals which runs every 15 minutes, from the shuttle stops outside Terminal 1 (Entrance 5) and Terminal 2 (at Departures).

    •  By Taxi/Limousine

Metered taxis and limousines are available.  For Terminals 1 and 3 the pick-up area is outside Terminal 1, and metered taxis are available outside Terminal 2 Arrivals.  Ask the customer services desks about limousine hire. Etihad Airways offers a limousine service for its Diamond First Class and Pearl Business Class passengers, as well as a luxury coach service.   Call your travel agent or look on for more info.

 Car Hire

Navigate to our international car hire page to compare the prices of all car rental agencies at Abu Dhabi International Airport. There are many car hire companies and their airport offices are open 24/7, and are located in the Skypark parking, opposite Terminal 3.  The following companies are available:, Budget, Dollar, Europcar, Thrifty Car Rental and Payless

Abu Dhabi Tips:

  • English is spoken and understood by most business people and service providers, so you should have no language problems at the airport.
  • Dress conservatively – no miniskirts or too much baring of the flesh – that goes for men too!  Cover shoulders and legs, especially during the holy month of Ramadan.
  • Currency is the Dirham (AED), which is made up of 100 fils.
  • Photographs of Muslim women are not allowed.  Ask first if you want to take someone’s pic. Government and various other buildings (including airports) also may not be photographed.
  • Visas: check with your travel agent whether you need a visa to enter the UAE
  • Airport Security: make sure you don’t have any liquids, sharp instruments etc in your hand luggage – check with your travel agent as to what is permissible.
  • The Weather: Temperatures range from about 14oC on a winters’ night, to 42oC in high summer. Not much rain at all.  Best time to visit is November to April, when daytime temperatures average around 24oC
  • Time: 4 hours ahead of UTC (previously GMT).
  • Tipping: Not expected, but if you’re happy with the service, add on about 10% (if not already included in the bill!)
  • Electricity: 220/240 volts at 50 Hz. Square three-pin sockets, mostly
  • Working week: Sun – Thurs (Friday and Saturday are the weekend!)

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